Chenghua Party School
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Project Team Li Han / Hu Yan / Zhang Xintong / Zhang Huoying / Yuan Chuyang / Wang Qiran / Chen Zhuo / Wang Pengfei / Peng Zehui / Qiu Lijun / Mai Siqi / Yi Yanqi / Qu Yancheng / Luo Yuanjia / Ma Shuyuan / Liu Yuanhui / Li Gezi / Li Fengming

Photography Wang Hongyue / Lu Wenhui

The renovation of the public space of Party School of Chengdu Chenghua District Committee of C.P.C. is an experiment by Drawing Architecture Studio (DAS) on a “light renovation” through image. Interpreted in professional terms, “light renovation” means to renovate the space with some “soft decoration”. A light renovation usually requires less time, simpler construction, and manageable cost. But the result of such a renovation shall not be “light”. It shall transforms the space significantly in order to impress those who have been used to dramatic visual effects. In terms of light renovation, DAS finds that combining image and space is one of the most effective approaches. 

Finding a big surface is the most important premise when using image to renovate a space so that a large image can be presented. “Bigness” is the precondition to everything. Regardless to city, architecture, or art, “being big” has natural advantage. Locating the largest continuous surface in a space is the most obvious starting point for an image-oriented renovation.

Chenghua Party School is located on the top floor of an office building. Although the semicircle vault looks simple, it is a classical spatial prototype. The most eye-catching wall is the semicircle gable wall. When it gets a total transformation with the cover of the image, the ambiance of the whole space is almost completed.

With this largest surface, DAS uses the image to cover the glass roof, turning the regular glass into some “stained glass” with printed glass film.

It is often overcast in the city of Chengdu. When the daylight gets colorful through the image-covered glass roof, it suddenly lights up the space. When it occasionally gets sunny, the light still remains strong through the glass and projects multicolored shadow onto the wall and floor, creating dramatic highlights for the original plain space. As the night falls, the light from downstairs turns the atrium roof into a colorful pond, bringing people some relief after a long day of work.    

There is a screen wall at the main entrance of Chenghua Party School. Many party schools will showcase the slogan “Seek Truth from Facts” on such a wall. But in Chenghua’s case, the low ceiling and dark space at the entrance are not ideal for such a display. So DAS chose to use a light box with lenticular print as the alternative design. After the installation, the light box is particularly attractive at the entrance and becomes a highlight in the space of the Party School. The ever-changing images following people’s movements adds a refreshing effect to the screen wall, which provides a unique “walking experience” to the students of the Party School at their class breaks. 

After planning the areas in which the images will be applied, the remaining work for the project is to create the content of the images. Chenghua District is an old industrial base in Chengdu. Its former glory reflects on those still standing giant factory structures. Its confusion after industrial transformation shows on those dilapidated building façades. Its hopes rely on those renovation and redevelopment of the factories. Maximum 3 images can be embedded into one piece of lenticular board. So, DAS created 3 panoramic drawings to represent three different aspects of the factory. The first drawing Factory Workshop represents the most typical workshop with framework structure. It is the prototype of all the factory workshops and can be developed into all kinds of factory buildings.

The second drawing Factory Structures depicts those iconic factory structures like chimney, water tower, covered bridge, and etc. which are some most impressive memories about factory. 

The third drawing Factory Dormitory portrays the residential area of the factory. Recent renovation has brought new life to those old apartments.

The 3 drawings are then collaged and organized into one piece as for the mural image on the semicircle gable wall.